Summary: This message was presented at a corporation. In between points, songs were sung as part of the program.

The angels gave 4 messages prior to the birth of Jesus.

Each message began with “Don’t be afraid”. At first reading it might seem that they said that because of their fantastic appearance. But as we look at each individual message we see the angels were coming to reassure God’s people of something deeper. Everyone has fears. We all have questions about God’s work in this world and in our own lives. Maybe one of these four messages will touch something in your own life and you can receive encouragement today.

“A Strange Way to Save the World”

1. Don’t be afraid of the cost of following God’s plan

Matthew 1:20, “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

a. Joseph thought about the public disgrace of Mary and her family.

b. To stay with Mary would have people whispering for years about him.

c. The cost of living for God is real.

d. It costs us our reputation, some relationships, some creature comforts, some dreams, some habits.

e. We won’t have many of the things this world affords but that isn’t all bad is it?

i. Heartache from disobedience

ii. Fractured relationships

iii. Sleepless nights from guilt and despair.

f. Joseph didn’t understand God’s plan and needed reassurance. That is why the angel came.

Joseph wasn’t the only one who needed encouragement about what God was doing. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was wondering something also.

2. Don’t be afraid that God doesn’t hear your prayer

Luke 1:1, But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.

a. God hears every prayer. God answers every prayer.

i. One teenager said of prayer: “God answers prayer four ways: yes, no, wait awhile, or, you’ve got to be kidding!”

ii. There was once a pastor who had a little five year old daughter. Now the little girl notice that every time her dad stood behind the pulpit, and was getting ready to preach he would bow his head for moment before he began to preach. The little girl noticed that he did this every time.

So one day after the service the little girl when to her dad and asked him, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?”

“Well Honey” the preacher answered, “ I asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”

The little girl looked up at her father and asked, “Then how come he doesn’t do it?”

b. Praying for extended periods of time for deep desires of our heart is taxing. But God is working.

3. Don’t be afraid that God only favors others

Luke 1:28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.

Luke 2:14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

“Mary Did You Know?”

a. Just like Mary, it is hard for us to comprehend that God would care so much for us.

b. Can we believe that God really has so much favor in store for us?

c. Do we believe God wants to use us? That He chooses good things to come into our lives?

d. Let’s not confuse God’s favor with the favor of this world. The world’s favor can only be measured in material things, temporary things, fleeting things. God’s favor is eternal. God’s favor is a relationship of love made possible through Jesus Christ..

e. God’s favor desires to rest upon you. He can reach you where you are. He wants to reach you where you are. And nothing God wants to do is impossible.

4. Don’t be afraid things can’t change

Luke 2:10, But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

a. Do you believe that Jesus was born and that the rest of His story is true? If so, why do we have such difficulty believing that things can be different?

b. A woman took her husband to the doctor’s office.

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